Sunday, March 10, 2013

Timney AR15 Competition Trigger Review

Timney AR15 Competition Trigger Review

After topping off my custom engraved Doublestar AR15 with a JP Rifle competition upper, I noticed that the factory trigger was not allowing the match JP barreled upper to shine on that lower like it did with other match triggered lowers.  I have tried a few match AR triggers, however after extraordinary experiences with Timney drop in replacement match triggers for both my Mosin Nagant and Ruger 10/22, I decided to pick up a Timney AR15 Competition Trigger.

Timney was founded in 1946 and began by making replacement triggers for Mauser rifles. Over the last 60 plus years Timney has been making triggers for a growing list of firearms such as  Ruger 10/22s, to ARs, to even Mosin Nagant rifles and more.  Every trigger component is made in house right here in the USA.  Their triggers are well known and used extensively within the competition circles and for good reason; they provide an outstanding single stage trigger feel all while also being the best trigger values on the market.  Part of the reason the Timney triggers are so well regarded is that each trigger is hand assembled, tested and calibrated to the highest quality standards in the industry.

Timney also goes the extra mile by offering expert installation for those customers that need it and a product customer service second to none. As with any well respected company, all Timney Triggers come with a lifetime warranty; if you have a problem down the road, they will back it up with warranty and customer support.

What sets the Timney triggers apart from other parts replacement triggers is the simple and easy drop in cassette module upgrade.  Cassette style drop in units like this Timney AR15 Competition trigger prevent the whole inherent wiggly pin situation from destroying a potentially outstanding trigger due to a warn lower or loose out of spec pins. Most match trigger companies provide a set of overspec'ed pins with their triggers to prevent this, however Timney has gone another route. A cassette module style drop in trigger is self contained and completely self supported for perfect alignment, higher strength, and best trigger possible; the stock trigger and hammer pins are just used to lock the cassette trigger into your lower receiver.

Installation is simple and easy with your existing pins. Just a punch & mallet is all that is needed to lightly tap tap out the old trigger and hammer pins and lift out the old trigger parts. Use a screwdriver to remove the grip. Once your unloaded lower has it's old trigger set removed, the grip removed (don't let the safety selector spring and detent fall on the floor), and your safey selector switch, your new Timney AR15 Competition trigger cassette can be dropped in. Just before doing so, I do recommend just barely start the pin retention screws into the cassette body becuase you need to move the spring on each side around to get the screws started and this is a little painful to do so after it is in the lower. Reinstall the selector switch, carefully reinsert the selector detent and keep the detent spring aligned while tightening down the grip screw. All that is required is to push in the existing hammer and trigger pins back in and then tighten down the two retainer pin retention screws which lock the trigger cassette onto the trigger and hammer pins. In case you were wondering, yes, these pin retention screw assure that these pins will never accidentally slip free, rotate, or walk out.

Like all Timney triggers, this AR15 competition trigger is such a work of art that you hate to cover it up inside a receiver. The cassette housing is anodized gold and all the trigger parts are EDM cut for extreme precision.  The final result after install is a slimmer and flatter looking trigger than your typical AR15 trigger blade of which I am a fan of flatter triggers in pistol grip'ed rifles. This design to me gives me a bit better feel and control while still preserving a little curve in the trigger to index your finger on the trigger accurately.

As with all Timney triggers they are single-stage triggers that are crisp as breaking glass. There are two main trigger types; single stage and double stage.  Although you can start an agrument quickly with target shooters about which is best, I see advantages to each design. Single stage triggers will break/fire without a take-up stage much like traditional AR15 triggers. Two stage triggers have a softer take-up stage to a hard stop which is the break/fire stage. The two stage guys will say that the trigger weight is distributed throughout the two-stages so the trigger pull can safely be a lighter trigger pull. If you want the lightest possible trigger pull a two-stage trigger is your best option. The single stage guys will ask why they need to always press through a first stage just to fire the gun. A lot of 3-gunning shooters like the single stage triggers for this shooting speed reason and claim a two stage trigger slows them down.  Like I said, you can start an argument quick on this subject. My thoughts are that I like triggers in the 3lb range for taraget shooting and I can not see a huge difference between the two at this trigger pull weight.  Anything less than a 3-4lb trigger would make a great dedicated bench gun, but I would not feel comfortable fielding it from a safety perspective. In the end I believe Timney is right in that perfect trigger pull range with their 3lb and 4lb single stage AR15 competition triggers that are still prudently safe for a defensive use.

Timney factory tunes the triggers and do not provide user adjustment for us armchair gunsmiths to monkey around with it. This is a good thing for a potential defensive rifle.  I will never recommend an adjustable trigger for any firearm which could potentially be used for defense as this could be a huge liability. The trigger is available in AR15 and AR10 versions in small or larger (old-Colt) trigger/hammer pinned versions. If you do not have an old as dirt Colt, then any reasonable modern AR15 accepts the small pins.  I choose the 3lb trigger pull version, however if you are building a more defensive focused DMR style rifle I would suggest the 4lb trigger which is still about half the standard mil-spec 7-8lb AR15 trigger pull weight. This 3lb Timney AR15 Competition trigger feels stunningly light and crisp and was the perfect weight for the 3-gun style setup of the rifle.

A match grade trigger such as this Timney AR15 Competition trigger delivers the shooter two distinct advantages. During non-benchrest shooting like we see in 3-Gun action sports, the Timney trigger gives you a better and more predictable trigger feel to more confidently take unsupported shots and a very light weight single stage trigger pull which can arguably help you shoot a bit faster.  On the bench, that light crisp trigger lets you take full advantage of a top end match barrel's accuracy potential without a crunchy factory trigger disturbing your sight picture.  In my testing, I have found that a match trigger upgrade will generally net you a 20%-30% accuracy improvement over a stock trigger (depending on how bad/good the old trigger was). My results with this Timney trigger again confirmed about a 25% reduction in my average group sizes and affirmed my continued love of all things Timeny.  Since we can't get ammo we might as well spend our money on upgrades and this is an upgrade I would recommend for any AR15 shooter serious about accuracy.


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